If you haven’t noticed, computers are kind of a big deal these days. Things that your grandparents only dreamed of are old school to you. And yet the science fiction writers keep coming up with new ideas of how technology will be a million times better in the future. Writers can make the stuff up, but it’s the Computer Science majors of the world who are working to improve all the computers and software we’ve already got, therefore making the computer you’re currently sitting at obsolete and old-fashioned.
Computer Science majors like every gadget there is. They have Web sites like thinkgeek.com as their homepage, and they wear shirts that proudly display a series of ones and zeros. They’ve probably fixed your laptop more than once, never charging anything, but likely installing some sort of secret program on your computer so they can spy on what you do … not because they’re particularly nosy, but just because they can.
Obviously there are computer skills here. That used to mean mad typing skills. Now it means understanding computer languages, navigating networks, creating software and defragging every kind of hardware. Good people skills is also of utmost important. Normally you’re helping out people who don’t understand what you’re doing at all, but the computer program is useless if you can’t teach the user how to, well, use it.
If you still handle all your computer glitches by hitting Ctrl-Alt-Dlt or just unplug the machine and hope the problem goes away, you’ll be outmatched by the genius of all your classmates. Don’t set yourself up for that kind of failure.
Computer Science majors will study all the basics – things like binary code, Java and C++ (and no, that’s not their grade point average). They’ll learn how computer software is made, and then start making their own.
More industries are hiring in-house Computer Science types. You could offer tech support or run the network at a hospital, design software for a children’s education company or teach politicians who don’t want to appear technologically stupid how to Tweet.
More and more clubs and organizations in high schools involve Computer Science. There are C++ competitions you can try your hand at, and other opportunities to showcase your talents early on.
Chances are good your college will have a computer lab or 30. Get a job working at one to get some practical experience. Normally the job pays decently, but even if it doesn’t who can complain about being paid to sit around on a computer?